Being described as like the Jimi Hendrix of your professional industry by a black man would be a sweet moment for anyone. This moment was provided by Chris Rock when describing the influence and reverential respect being built up by, arguably, the world’s funniest man, Louis Szekely, more commonly known as Louis C.K.
Rock has a point, Louis C.K., has become a global phenomenon over the last few years and could be described as an overnight success; however that hides the fact that he first took the stage in 1984 some 14 years ago after Hendrix left the world. He has become such a big deal for many different reasons but mainly it’s because he is very funny and a real master of stand-up comedy.
He is a real trendsetter in many ways, from his decision two years ago to skip DVD production and other forms of media to sell his “Live at the Beacon Theater” show direct to fans via his own website for only a few pounds. This is something that has been copied by fellow comedians in the USA.
His new show, I say new, it is new to the UK and we have only just been shown episode three of season one, or series one, if you are duly concerned about the Americanisation of our society in old Blighty, guv’nor. In the USA he is currently filming season/series four after three hugely successful 13 episode series.
I have seen the first three episodes and love it, my wife doesn’t. The reason I mention this is we normally have a very similar sense of humour for TV shows, movie, stand-up etc, and it got me thinking what is different about this particular show?
She suggested maybe because I am a comedian? At which point I corrected her, I am not yet a comedian, as it’s not my main source of income (nor will it ever be Mr. HMRC!) and I’m probably best described as an open-spot. This is a term that will be alien to those outwith the comedy industry, and maybe that’s why my British wife doesn’t get the show as much.
I don’t know a comedian in the scene I am involved in, or indeed from reading tweets from those on the levels above that don’t think Louis C.K. is some sort of deity.
The show itself, forgetting about my wife’s opinions for the first time in ten years of bliss, is actually brilliant. It is most importantly funny, which helps, but it’s also really cool and different from anything else out there.
For many years, TV comedy from the USA is light years ahead of anything we have going here. Winning all of the awards and plaudits here are shows like Mrs Brown’s Boys and Miranda, two shows I have never ever and will never watch, as I have seen enough in trailers to know I would just have no interest. Comedy hasn’t moved on and evolved here from world class TV comedy we had in the 1980’s. I also understand there may have been the same quality prior to this, but this was before I was born and, you know, meh.
Comedy in the USA has evolved in the same period when you consider great shows from the 80’s, then Frasier, Seinfeld, Friends etc from the 1990’s/2000’s and then tremendous traditional sitcoms just now in 30 Rock, Modern Family and a particular favourite of mine, Raising Hope. As good as these shows are, Louie is different, bizarre and interesting to watch.
As is well documented, Louis C.K., has full creative control over proceedings and hasn’t let that ruined the show with ridiculous ideas and getting caught in his own world. The three episodes I have watched so far have included scenes that wouldn’t get the nod if writing was done by committee and may have been pillaged in the editing suite also, but again he controls this.
I love the fact that scenes seem very realistic, helped of course by the single camera use, and during most scenes it seems that he is adlibbing a little and giving free reign to others within the show also. It makes for an exciting watch as you don’t know where it’s going to go next, as he explores different subject matters with no, seemingly so far, overall story arc it will allow him to approach any subject he fancies. Completing the show is the fact that you get to see little snippets of his set performed at the Comedy Cellar in New York City.
Currently I am struggling to wait each week for each new 23 minutes of sheer brilliance, but hey what can you do? It’s not as if there is a way to cheat the system. If you were able to, I am sure the authorities would come down on us in TORRENTS.
I recommend Louie, but as I was saying earlier, is it just because I’m an open spot?
Louie airs on Fox Channel on Tuesdays at 10pm